Homemade Dishwasher Detergent with Orange and Lemon Oils

The expectation that a dishwashing detergent should clean the dishes is normal, but it seems that it may go beyond that — and not in a good way. Knowing how the job is getting done is important, which means you may need to take a little time to understand just how products work and if they are safe. (And also why a homemade dishwasher detergent is the best option of all.)

Research shows that many conventional dishwashing detergents contain some ingredients that are not only unsafe for you and your family, but are unsafe for the environment. Sometimes, what we don’t see is worse than we think, such as remembering that what goes down your drain may end up in water areas and reservoirs that affects the life within that bed of water. And, it may come back to the faucet!

However, there are questions as to whether so-called eco-cleaners actually get your dishes clean. Additionally, it seems that some green products may leave some ingredients out of their labeling, making it a bit deceptive to the consumer. But before we disregard the greener approach, let’s talk about the problems with conventional dishwasher detergents. (1)
9 Problems with Conventional Dishwasher Detergents

The concerns with conventional dishwasher detergents include some of the so-called green ones. Below, I have listed a few of the ingredients that have lead to the biggest concerns, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

1. Phosphates

You may have heard of phosphates. They are known for doing a great job of providing a spot-free glass right out of the dishwasher, but that comes at a price because phosphates can promote too much algae growth. When this happens, beneficial plants and fish get deprived of much-needed oxygen; therefore, they cannot thrive in their natural environment.

The Cleaning Institute reports that while scientific studies indicate that a bigger difference would be made with a decrease in all phosphate-containing products such as fertilizers and construction run-off in addition to dishwasher detergents, but any reduction still contributes to a positive outcome over time. (2) (3)

2. Preservatives

There is a high concern that preservatives and synthetic fragrances may contribute to cancer development. Additionally, it may cause general systemic/organ issues, acute or chronic aquatic toxicity, respiratory effects and skin irritation/allergies/damage.

3. Diethanolamine

Diethanolamine is known to cause cancer, moderate allergic reactions and kidney damage. (4)

4. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde causes some big concerns regarding cancer, organ defects, respiratory problems, skin irritation, allergies and and acute aquatic toxicity.

5. Methanol

There is moderate concern that methanol can cause damage to your eyesight as well as skin irritation, allergies and respiratory problems.

6. Sodium Bisulfite

This ingredient could cause some respiratory problems, skin irritation and allergies.

7. Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid may cause cancer, respiratory effects and skin irritation.

8. Benzene

Benzene causes many big concerns, including cancer, developmental problems, endocrine disruption and reproductive problems as well as DNA problems. Allergic reactions and damage to visions could result as well.

9. Sodium Hypochlorite

This ingredient could cause acute aquatic toxicity, respiratory effects, organ effects, problems with endocrine system, the nervous system, kidney and urinary effects, cancer and problems with the digestive system. (5)
Dishwashing Products to Avoid

The EWG has listed a few dishwashing products to avoid. All of these products received an “F” grade in EWG’s rankings. The reasons are due to possible problems relating to asthma, skin allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer and environmental concerns.

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